Choosing Card Issuers for 0% APR Balance Transfer Offers

Please also see my updated guide on
How To Make Money From 0% APR Balance Transfers

I haven’t been as active in the 0% APR balance transfers game recently (still have $20k in borrowed money), but sometimes the trickiest part after finding the best 0% offer is to figure out how to get your cash.

It seems like some issuers are not playing well with others recently. Flexo at Consumerism Commentary reports having his credit balance request sent from Discover denied by MBNA. I’ve heard similar problems with American Express, although I have gotten checks from them before. The good news is that if you transfer to Citibank, they now let you request a check for any credit balance online. So for sure they let you do it, and on top of that there’s no human to question your motives (not that you’re doing anything wrong). Definitely the best choice, if you have to go that route.

Of course ideally, they just let you write a check directly to yourself for the money, or take your bank info and electronically transfer it there. Banks that I have done this with before, and from what I hear continue to do so, include Citibank, MBNA, and Chase. Bank of America used to, but they just bought MBNA, so I’d double-check. Overall, Citibank seems to be the most flexible care issuer, either as the place you get the balance transfer or the place to send it to. Nice that they also back it up with great Rewards cards.

I’ve updated my How-To Play the 0% APR Game post to reflect these changes.

Added: Here is a screenshot of me requesting a credit balance refund on my Citi card:

Credit Balance Request Screenshot


  1. hmm when u talk about citi allowing a check for credit balance to be send online. u mean after u send a transfer balance from another creditor to the citi credit card, which results in a + balance right?

    I just checked with my online citi account.. and i realized they let you do another cool thing on the site.

    they let you do balance transfer online, which isnt new.. but the awesome thing is, you have the option to choose for them to send a check made out to you, send to your address.

    basically you can specify any amount (up to available credit limit) and it’ll be send to you. then you can just deposit it in any banking account.

    pretty neat IMO.

  2. I just did a balance transfer from Chase to Amex almost 2 weeks ago. Called up Amex yesterday and asked for a refund check, as they suggested on my card statement. The woman on the phone had the 30k check sent out with no questions asked. Must depend on who you get on the phone.

  3. If you have the balance transfer sent from your new 0% credit card to another credit card that doesn’t have any balance, what is the dollar limit of this (aside from the limit you have on your new 0% credit card)?


  4. For Bank of America, I just got set of checks with my current statement for 0% for 6 months, it says that you can make the check out to yourself and deposit in your checking account. I’ll comment again once I make the transfer.

  5. I would be very interested in knowing if those checks will be considered as a cash advance transaction rather than a balance transfer. In some cases, the 0% rate is only for balance transfer while the cash advance rate is much higher.


  6. I am confused about your situation. I thougth you have $83k saved up how come you still have credit card debts??

  7. Cap – Yep, I just added a screenshot showing where you can find it. If you have a negative (credit) balance, just click on that and they’ll send you a check. Cool that they also do BT’s online and send you a check!

    Dan – Thanks for sharing! I had the same positive experience as you, but another reader had trouble. Maybe there are other criteria that we don’t know about, like lenght of time with Amex?

    Ty – I’m not sure, I’ve either gotten direct checks, or transferred the balance to a card with a bigger credit limit.

    Manny – Ty is right, be sure to read the terms and make sure you’re ok with any fees with the checks! Many have them, some do not. See here for offers with no balance transfer fees.

    Albert – Please see the details in my net worth post. It’s all borrowed at 0% APR and earning soon-to-be >5% interest. Even including the debt, net I do have $83k.

  8. Albert, I believe in an old article (I think the original one talking about this topic) he explained that he has 20k in CC debt. But it’s riding at 0%, and he has the funds to pay it whenever he wants (in other words, he is basically doing this scheme, I think… though maybe that wasn’t the original intention of the debt).

  9. So I just received a Chase 0% credit card. When speaking with them on the phone to do the balance transfer of $2900, I was told there would be a 3% of the transfer amount fee which itself will be charged monthly at 16.74%. I assume this is no longer a good deal since I in fact would be lossing money.



  10. The 3% fee cuts into any interest profits you would make. Sounds like a bad deal.

  11. That is what I was figuring. I assume that the monthly payments I make to the credit card will not be applied to this finance fee until after the balance transfer itself has been paid in full?


  12. Yep, you got it. All payments go to the category with the lowest APR first (balance transfer first, purchases next in your case)

  13. Regarding Ty’s situation: couldn’t he transfer enough money to his chase account to cover the transfer fee prior to doing the balance transfer?

  14. I realize this is an old post, however I wanted to point out that Citibank no longer has this option on their website to request a check. I do remember seeing it at some point but I do not anymore. I don’t have have a positive balance so it’s possible it doesn’t show up unless you can use it. If someone has more information on this or knows of a card that does support this, I would like to know.

  15. askew – The option is still there, but as you guessed it doesn’t show up unless you have a positive credit balance.

  16. I’m happy to be corrected in this case. I was planning using it in the near future. Hopefully the current crisis won’t prevent the transfer.

  17. The option shows up and I asked for refund 2 weeks ago – nothing so far, not even the usual acknowledgment message saying they need to verify payment. Nothing at all. In the past I have never contacted them directly (phone etc.), thought this is not a good idea and wanted to avoid explanations. Now though I am not sure what to do. I guess I will wait up to a month and then see if there is any way to get my overpayment back.

  18. Apparently, it’s not so popular now to do a “balance” transfer when there is no balance, I suppose because nearly every offer has a transfer fee of usually 3-4% with no limit like they used to have. I want to get cash from a $20K credit line, but because of the 3% fee, and thinking that banks are probably more likely to reject large credit balance payments or deny refunding them, I’m hesitant. I don’t want to get hit with the fee without getting the money. I’ve been looking on the web to discover reports of others’ recent experience with this, but there’s little mention of it in 2010. Has anyone here done this lately? If so, when, how much, and what bank card? Thanks

  19. @Scott – I just talked to someone in your exact situation, who transferred to American Express successfully. As long as you transfer to a credit card that you (1) have been using regularly for regular purchases for a couple months before the overpayment and (2) the overpayment is less than the existing credit line of the card your transferring to, then your chances will be much better.

    The first part means you’re a regular customer that they want to keep. The second raises less flags as they already trust you to lend out that much money.

  20. Thanks, Jonathan. It figures that AmEx is about the only major card I don’t have.

    Regarding Citibank, the credit balance refund option is not present on my account, and I wonder if, in Dec. 2010, it is there if one has a credit balance. Even so, I wonder if a $20K credit balance would just be automatically handled via such an option. NP posted above me in January 2009 that s/he hadn’t gotten any response to his/her request in 2 weeks, and unfortunately, didn’t follow-up here on the outcome. Even if NP had no problem, I wouldn’t rely on such “old” info, but if NP had a problem then, I’m sure it’s no better now.

  21. I know for sure that refund credit balance request is available on American Express, as I just used it a couple days ago (not on balance transfer but other overpayment from large refund). As recently as ~4 months ago the refund option did show up on my Citicard account as well. Hope that helps. Good luck.


  1. […] 4) I went online to Citibank and requested a credit balance refund as shown in this post. They had to “verify the payment was legit”, but approved my check in a couple days. No humans, easy as pie. […]

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